Dave Dahl -- Illinois Radio Network

Fewer of us were using Amtrak in the twelve months ending Sept. 30, compared to the prior fiscal year.

Gasoline prices tell part of the story, says rail spokesman Marc Magliari.

“There's a modal shift,” Magiliari says, “when gas prices start ticking upward – to the two's, three's, and four's (dollars per gallon) that people look to us as an option.”

More of the story, he says, is track improvements on the Chicago-St Louis route that forced riders onto buses.

The Chicago-St Louis route saw a five percent drop. The decreases for the routes connecting Chicago to Carbondale and to Quincy were four percent and two percent, respectively. With national ridership off about a half percent, the Illinois ridership was off four percent.

Still, Magliari says – counting the route between Chicago and Milwaukee – two million riders is a lot of riders.

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